As Pope Francis opened the holy door at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, he drew a connection between the Jubilee of mercy and Mary, the mother of mercy.

“She is the Mother of mercy, because she bore in her womb the very Face of divine mercy, Jesus, …The Son of God, made incarnate for our salvation, has given us his Mother, who joins us on our pilgrimage through this life, so that we may never be left alone, especially at times of trouble and uncertainty.”

The Pope reflected on the lines of an ancient hymn: “Hail Mother of mercy, Mother of God, Mother of forgiveness, Mother of hope, Mother of grace and Mother full of holy gladness.”

“In these few words, we find a summary of the faith of generations of men and women who, with their eyes fixed firmly on the icon of the Blessed Virgin, have sought her intercession and consolation,” he said.

While the idea of “forgiveness” is misunderstood in the modern world, it is critical in the Christian faith, Pope Francis said. 

“A person unable to forgive has not yet known the fullness of love. Only one who truly loves is able to forgive and forget,” he said, adding that at the foot of the Cross, Mary becomes for all people the mother of forgiveness, as she follows in the example of her Son who forgives those who are killing him. 
“For us, Mary is an icon of how the Church must offer forgiveness to those who seek it,”
“The gift that Mary bestows in offering us Jesus is the forgiveness which renews life, enables us once more to do God’s will and fills us with true happiness,” he said. “This grace frees the heart to look to the future with the joy born of hope.” 
Catholic News Agency Mary is the mother of forgiveness. Vatican City January 1,2016
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